Whisper — a nighttime concert of narrative & song
Date: April 30, 1999
Artists: Robert Minden and Carla Hallettmusical saws, multiphonic waterphones, blown bottles, floating bowls, theremin, voice
This whimsical performance featuring the recent work of Robert Minden and Carla Hallett was for an imaginative audience drawn to wander past the boundaries of conventional music. The evening unfolded in a gentle intimacy. The music was transparent and spare. The instruments were the invented and found sounds of an ever-expanding orchestra of the unlikely: musical saws, multiphonic waterphones, blown bottles, floating bowls, and the forgotten theremin. They were joined by the vocal stylings and lyrics of Carla Hallett and ingenuous stories told by Robert Minden.
Carla Hallett, French horn and vocalist, studied at the School of Music, University of British Columbia. She participated in master classes with Phillip Myers (principal horn, New York Philharmonic) and toured China with the Port Angeles Symphony. Then, following a different muse, she became one of the founding members of the Robert Minden Ensemble, reaching beyond the French horn for less conventional instruments. Now an experimental musician-composer, Hallett joins her voice with the sounds of the carpenter's saw, the theremin, glass bottles and invented drones.
"One morning I was carrying a load of fire wood into the studio, when a small log slipped from my arms and fell to the stony steps. It made a beautiful sound. And just as I realised this, another log slipped away. It was larger and sounded deeper. Intrigued, I slowly spilled my armful of logs onto the steps and listened to their delightful melody, like water running in a brook." – Carla Hallett
Robert Minden's background in diverse disciplines inform his work as a storyteller, composer, and teacher. He studied piano and composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto and then went on to pursue a career in sociology. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of California at Berkeley. After teaching at several universities, his interest in developing photography as a research method in sociology evolved into a career as a photographic artist. This work has been published and exhibited internationally.
Investigations into acoustic sound and invented instruments together with a love of storytelling led to the formation of the Robert Minden Ensemble in 1986. This has focussed an enduring interest in the sociology of childhood and the importance of the arts in education. His work for young audiences has been celebrated internationally. And he is the only musical saw player to have performed both with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Sesame Street.